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My Take: As we shrink government, let’s grow charitable giving
March 27th, 2012
03:00 PM ET

My Take: As we shrink government, let’s grow charitable giving

Editor’s Note: Glenn Beck is a radio and television host and is founder of The Blaze, a news and opinion website, and GBTV.

By Glenn Beck, Special to CNN

I have never felt particularly charitable on April 15.

Instead, I typically feel like the victim of the most sophisticated burglary in world history. Yet it is on Tax Day that we learn a lot about the giving nature of our political leaders, at least those who release their tax records. Those documents provide a lens into politicians’ financial priorities and benevolence.

While the American people certainly don’t have a “right” to see the tax returns of any private individual, the public has grown to expect that those running for the highest office in the land will voluntarily allow us to view their filings.

Each election cycle, the media and general public take voyeuristic pleasure in examining how candidates made money and the charities they supported before knowing that the national microscope would be on them.

According to his tax records, President Obama gave about 14% to charity last year, a laudable amount by any measure. However, that’s about 12 times the rate he gave before he arrived in the Senate in 2004 and over 35 times the rate at which he gave in 2002 (when he managed to donate only 0.4% of his quarter million dollar income).

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

This raises questions about how much of the president’s recent charitable contributions can be chalked up to political calculation.

When charitable giving is at a high rate for an extended period of time, as is the case with Mitt Romney, the media tend to ignore the trend. While nearly every outlet on the planet wrote about Romney’s 15% income tax rate when he released tax filings earlier this year, almost none covered the 15 % he gave voluntarily to charity.

Explainer: Mormon tithing

(While Romney and Obama lead the current presidential pack in personal giving, they are troublingly the only two remaining candidates supporting a partial elimination of the federal deduction for charity, which would cost non-profits far more than either man could personally give in a lifetime.)

Rick Santorum, whom I firmly believe would be the best president out of the current crop of candidates, does not back down when questioned about the influence of faith on his life. But the devout Catholic has understandably faced some criticism due to the fact that his charitable giving, about 3% of his income in recent years, lags behind both Romney and post-rise-to-national-prominence-Obama.

While Santorum’s donations compare favorably to the average American, they’re not up to the levels that many would expect from a man of such deep faith.

It should be noted that Santorum is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, which does not require a specific 10 percent tithe, as many other traditions do.

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Regardless, it’s fair to wonder why Santorum hasn’t willingly given more - which is why I recently asked him about it.

While noting that many of his charitable acts, such as volunteering time and raising money through speaking appearances at charitable fundraisers, are not reflected in his tax returns, Santorum admitted: “I need to do better and I should be better and I fell short.”

In comparison to what other politicians have been caught doing, this is admittedly a minor offense. But it’s encouraging that Santorum takes it seriously.

At the end of the day, the lesson - that it’s important to pitch in and give to help those in need - doesn’t just apply to presidential candidates; it applies to all of us, but particularly to conservatives.

Although studies have shown that conservatives already give more to charity than their liberal counterparts, the need is still great and requires much of everyone who is able to assist.

The idea that individuals are the key to helping others is a conservative one. It’s why I have never been shocked at Vice President Joe Biden’s lack of charitable giving over the years.

Biden averaged giving 0.2% over an entire decade of six-figure incomes in the Senate, 1/13th of what Santorum is criticized for today.

Unlike President Obama, Biden’s low charitable giving is a picture of stability. Even under the microscope of the Vice Presidency he still only gave 1% to charity last year.

And yet this is oddly consistent with his political philosophy. Progressives believe the government does a better job with your money than you can. So, why give any money to charity? Why doesn’t President Obama just give an extra 14% to the government?

It’s the responsibility of individuals to help others. Mercury One is a charity that I started in 2011 that attempts to take that morsel of ideology and turn it into action. The goal is to show that the American spirit of giving, while already far more significant than any other developed nation, still has plenty of room to grow.

When it comes to charity, Americans need to stop saying “Yes, we can” and start saying “Yes, I can.”

We face tough economic times ahead. I believe that we must shrink the size and scope of government or we will face national economic disaster.

But it’s not just about making the government smaller. As some of these giveaways from Washington disappear, American individuals must step in and make up the difference.

Savings in government waste and inefficiency can only go so far. It’s up to all of us to demand of ourselves that we pick up the slack.

Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus command us to elect a government that will take our money under threat of imprisonment so that bureaucrats can figure out the best way to help people in need.

But as so many on the left have pointed out, Scriptures do direct us to help the poor. Yet God puts the responsibility on us, not on the government.

Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians says that "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."

I think the use of “not grudgingly or under compulsion” eliminates the possibility that he was talking about the IRS.

This should serve as motivation for all of us to do more personally. Unless you’re already feeling “cheerful” every year on April 15.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Glenn Beck.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Money & Faith • Opinion

« Previous entry
soundoff (1,093 Responses)
  1. Ronald Hussein Reagan

    Mr. Beck has not been paying attention to human History these p[ast 10-20 thousand ytears. If there is any lesson to be learned it is that there is no bottom to the way people will treat each other. Dpending on people to take care of each other out of the goodness of their hearts is the longest wait one can possiblyt imagine. People form governments in order so that they migfht better take care of themselves and others.

    March 30, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Mike

      In the utopian world that Mr Beck lives in, people aren't greedy (except through saintly capitalism) and 'dig deep' when there's someone in need. Kum by ya is a song, not a blueprint for society. Governments protect the common good, provide for the general welfare. If Mr Beck is so offended by April 15, then he is slapping the face of the military, of the police, of the highways, of the libraries, of our foreign policy, of our agreements with other nations. What Mr Beck wants is all of the 'good' stuff from the government as long as someone else pays.

      March 30, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  2. History Bear

    Give less to government and more to charity. The charity execs need new cars and wardrobes. And don't worry, the fancy 4 wheel drive will negotiate the potholes and broken sewer mains and the cops willtake your crime report by phone becasue there isn't enough money to cover public transportation, safety etc. You betcha, give more.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • buckey lee

      Really, the United Way workers, the Salvation Army people, Rotary ( think eliminate Polio ! ), Jimmie V Foundation Kay Yow Cancer Fund, Shiner's Burn Hospitals, need I go on. Don't be bitter, better yet help someone out, it might even make you feel good.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  3. thecollegeadmissionsguru

    Glenn Beck is an idiot. Nuff said.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • mastermind

      beck rulz

      March 30, 2012 at 7:03 am |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer really changes things
    Proven

    March 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Jesus

      No, it's not. Lying is a sin, you've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.! .

      March 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Pshychonaut

      hey Jesus, how many kids died from your corrupt systems like medical cartel with chemotherapy and food cartel with junk food? I heard they started arresting people, for selling raw milk and real meat... Way to go humans, you let Elite Cabal to control your food supplies and just watch what will happen next... Use your own judgement- Bill Gates is involved with Vaccines, Montesanto seeds and he talks openly at TED, about population control?! I wont be near vaccines and gmo anytime soon! Good luck to all

      March 30, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Really?

      "hey Jesus, how many kids died from your corrupt systems like medical cartel with chemotherapy and food cartel with junk food?"

      LOL What an idiot that has nothing to do with prayer changing things, nice job on trying to twist the truth. It might help next time if you stayed on subject. LOL!

      March 30, 2012 at 8:14 am |
    • Sabina

      You cannot prove that prayer works. 'Nuff said!

      March 30, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  5. fred bazzeeda

    people actually listen to this guy and his spewing of hate, rubbish, lies and bigotry?

    March 29, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • affiliated observer

      nothing better to do today than to think about how miserable and ignorant people must be to think of Beck that way.How much have you given to charity?Hmmmmm?Takes courage to stand for principle,it takes love to help people that hate you.You dont really know Beck,you just disagree with his politics.And I have it on the highest authority ,that he loves his country,and I think that is swell.I will never be as nonviolent.Call it a weakness

      March 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      @affliated . W T F was that about. Anyone who defends Beck is really a sad individual. Your response was actually pretty funny, thanks for the laugh.

      March 29, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • affiliated observer

      Guru...! You arent mad at Beck because he made 3.9 million last year...and didnt go to college are you...?People say the darndest things! 🙂 Yes, I am sad ,but violent...and that makes me feel better.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  6. Eric G

    Charities are voluntary by nature. Taking away taxes will not see charity contributions rise, only taxes fall. At that point all the Red states (which can't function without federal transfer payments because they tend to be poorer states), will fall. Right now they remain fiscally viable because Blue states with more money pay more in taxes and so essentially they're allowing some of their wealth to trickle to Red states. So, yeah, end federal taxation and the Republican Party will cease to exist in 2 years.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • affiliated observer

      whatvever. like texas? O.k. Eric you got me.I bought it.Good fake.Run to set up the pass.I was ready to respond to that comment with a ferocity unequalled ,when I realized that that is exactly what conservatives want. Convince the liberals that the republicans will evaporate if we cut federal taxes.Brilliant.Alinsky Award finalist.Taxes go down,budgets get balanced and the (wink-wink) republicans dis-appear!.moohoohoohahhah

      March 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  7. charlieshen

    Fergit Glenn Beck...he is a chickenshytt big mouthed NAZI of piece of DIRT....I would not give him nor politicians the SWEAT off my BALLZZZ!

    March 29, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • buckey lee

      WOW, not a Beck fan, but you've got some repressed feelings, go ahead let them out, you will not feel any better but you can show everyone how juvenile you are.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • affiliated observer

      may I have your attention...this is the culmination of the degradation of our culture in America.People who think like this are growing more mainstream everyday.A D.C. "occupy" rally is one thing,but a religeous blog is something altogether different.Please pray for our people.If you dont pray,please"wish" for unity for our fellow countrymen(and women)G-d Bless America,In His service

      March 30, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  8. tips

    There are some things that charities can't pull off, like universal health care. Obamacare is a pretty good shot at it.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Ben

      Wrong. Most hospitals are created from non profits and rely on contributions. the more people gave the easer it would be to cover the sick.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • kxkxsh

      Hey Ben get a clue, hospitals are not created from non-profits, hospitals are some of the most profitable businesses in America. They achieve non-profit status with the IRS and one of the reasons is that they provide care for free to uninsured people.......and pass the bill on to us, the insured.
      I like Mr Beck's old Republican idea to let the poor contribute to help the poor...like Bush Sr.'s "1000 points of light".....what a bunch of malarky.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  9. MobiusEight

    I like Glenn Beck, he has some interesting insights. Sadly, he forgets the importance of separation of church and state. We should not be voting on someone based on their religion, skin color, income, or personality. We should be electing a president who will do his best to make this country great and give it a future, in all of it's aspects. Any president who is too heavily left or right, religious or atheist, hawk or dove, should have no business being in charge of the massive diversity that is the USA. Anyone who is going to govern based on their faith or their politics is going to put what they believe is the right thing to do ahead of what is the actual right thing to do. Some people say the words Conservative and Liberal like they are sear words, when in fact the word Moderate has become the worst name one can say in politics today.

    Mr. Beck, please, remember that this nation was founded as a place for all faiths equally, not for one faith to govern while the others merely "exist." You know, in your heart, that humans will never simply stop once they have achieved their goals. If at one time in Earth's history, Christianity declared war on all other faiths and sought to dominate them, it can happen again. And yes, even here, in the name of freedom, history can and will repeat itself. You have said as much on your own show, have you not?

    March 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  10. Pipe-Dreamer

    @ Mark from Middle River

    Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is inside you.

    Why do people take such a verse of scripture toward emotionalisms contrary to actualities?

    1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    Any Life-Formation here upon this planetary embolism consists of cellular Life forms and it is upon and within these cellular Life forms where the Kingdom Domains of the Godly exist. This is as simple as I can make it to be said.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Current day people are but multi-generational pasages in embolismed harborages of Godly Domains. Life of all mannerisms upon this planetary vestige is the Godly Providences of rich abundencies. We and all mannerisms of Life are cellularized Creations established by the Inner Dominations of Godliness benefisciaries. We are Gods' Godly Buildings and it takes many generations of Godly ambivilancies to create a person. Sometimes their creation is tarnished yet most of the time is of wholesomeness. We are Gods' handiworks as are any Life Formation. Without the internal presence the external nuances would be baron and empty space.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Hi Pipe. I do not feel there that many scriptures that folks focus and overly contemplate. We have our “God so loved the world” and “our let there be light” but in reality there are scriptures that really speak to others and at the same time are not primary to others. I am not saying what you are focused on in Juke and Corinthians is not important but whether God resides in our hearts or in some location in the Heavens, I am not one that worries because I am a simple Christian that declares that Christ is his savior and is just trying to get through this life the best I can. I apologize for wasting your time.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 29, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • Jesus

      Lying is a sin, you've been proven a liar over and over again on this blog. A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      Plus don't forget. The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.!

      March 29, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Eric G

      Religion is not healthy. It creates devides between people and fosters hate, enslavement, and destruction.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • nope

      nope .

      March 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  12. Jess Parker Holpernin

    Please, I thought we were rid of this right wing racist shill...

    March 29, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  13. Brent

    Glen, your ideas are not bad, not bad at all. In fact, in and ideal world, your ideas are great. Unfortunately the way you and your friends tout the "me, me, mine, mine," selfish culture that you all do, shoots your ideas and their implementation in the foot and doom them to failure. Please, be consistent, either promote the idea of giving and charity or promote your selfishness as you do, but do not try to play both sides of the fence and muddy the waters. I would think a person such as you who appears to think he knows it all and all he knows is right, would have figured the above out, without someone haveing to tell you.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Atomysk

      Brent, to argue with someone you must first listen to THEIR arguement. I have never ever, ever heard Glenn Beck tout a "me, me, mine, mine culture of selfishness" but rather a culture of freedom to be selfish or charitable by your own actions and spirit. You however seem to favor holding a gun to any successful person's head and demanding they be charitable.

      March 31, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
  14. jubilirao

    In a secular society no religious play and God lives in each one's heart to promote spirituality and mental peace and nothing to do with paying taxes or contributing to charity.He has no place in public domain.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  15. Pipe-Dreamer

    GOD's KINGDOM

    Many people will say, "Here is where the Godly Kingdom is at" while others will say, :Look over here for this is God's Kingdomly place". Truth be told, "The Kingdom(s) of God lay inside Life". Scripture teaches this very thought. It is also written that we do labor together with God. Meanwhile, we are God's HUSBANDRY just like cattle barons are the Husbandry managers regarding their herds. It is even written that we are God's Buildings. Consider all this and what it means to having a civilized understanding about our bodies being the buildings of and are God's Kingodm Domains.

    The scripture within the KJVB says what I have written above and does not discount anything I wrote but rather the scriptures I use to verify such Truth is more than what mainstream christians care to consider and endorse. Chistianity has long doctored up and made false claims regarding God's Kingdomly Domains. Many so-called prophets are not even close to the Truth! All of Today's teachings about Godly Domains is not, I repeat, is not righteous scripture. They all do preach falseness and seek to promote emotionally stimulating dogma that is not pertinent to Godliness claims.

    Life is divided into individualized Domains of Godly Kingdoms that are but buildings that all of Godliness inhabit and do tend to. We, our bodies are God-built husbandries and Godly Buildings wherein God and His kind inhabit.

    If anyone who reads these words and does not agree then, "Prove me wrong!" Scripture backs me up and does so prove me out to be right!

    March 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • affiliated observer

      I apologize in that no one has shared peace with you.Faith brings balance and charity.Focusing on something more important than yourself is a start.The depths of contemplation of spiritual matters and moral reflection are part of the reward.Seek Him

      March 29, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  16. achilles

    Stop supporing zionist aggression.

    Jewsagainstzionism.com

    March 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Eric G

      Let me guess, you're a "Christian", aren't you? This is why religion in all it's varieties is so destructive.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  17. Gezellig

    Wait a minute. Isn't this the same argument used to justify tax cuts for the rich, because they are the job creators? Yet, when they got their tax cuts, they did not use them to create jobs. Why would we expect them to use any tax cuts as a result of reduced government spending on charity, for charity?

    March 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • jubilirao

      I fully agree that the Republicans advocate tax cuts for the rich because they are the job creators but in the last five years they enjoyed the tax cuts but there was no job creation as the economy reeled under high unemployment for an unprecedented stretch. The Republicans skip explanation for this anomoly. Charity is a different subject nothing to do with the shrinking govt but is connected with individual moral commitment to the needs of the society like serving poor.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  18. Pipe-Dreamer

    ANY Real Christian here among us? I would like to ask any real Christian a question of utmost clarification for I am but a lowly person among the social tree here in the U.S. of A.

    The KJVB says this, Mat 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

    Where then is a REAL CHRISTIAN's stance as to exactly where this Godly Kingdom is located?

    I will await any Christian's reply,,,,,,,

    March 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”Where then is a REAL CHRISTIAN's stance as to exactly where this Godly Kingdom is located?”

      Hi Dreamer. First, what is and what is not a “Real Christian” can be crazy debated on that statement alone. Christians have so many denominations that I do not think that we can define a view of the Kingdom of Heaven and get the same answer by all who would state that they are Christian. So, I humbly can only offer my own view. Then again.. are we talking Heaven in a physical sense? That would lean to a question of where is God.

      In many views the Kingdom of God exist in a different realm or spiritual state. The view that some Faithful have is that the Kingdom of God that we are striving for does not exist …. yet.

      I would look towards Revelations 21:1-3

      ===
      “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.

      And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

      And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. “
      ===

      When I take your Matthew 6:33 and the scriptures before and after it, ..add in Revelations 21:1-3, I get the view that us as Christians are not to be frightful or scared because we are to be on the path to exist in the Kingdom of God that will be created in the book of Revelations.

      So, in my humble view the Kingdom of God that was mentioned in Matthew is yet to exist.

      Hope this helps 🙂

      L'Chaim

      March 28, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • plucky

      Mark from Middle River
      That's not your opinion. That came from the ancient writings of, well we really don't even know who. Why should you even pay any attention to that? There is 0 corroborating evidence to lend even a hint of believability to anything that is in there.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ Mark from Middle River

      Heaven(s) is/are not of the Kingdom of God for the Kingdom of God is found elsewhere. Here's a hint Mark,,,, Luke 17:21 along with 1 Corinthians 3:9. Do I need to post these verses or do you use internet bibles such as blueletterbible.com ?

      The Kingdom of God is a real physical place and does exist Mark from Middle River. Your quoting of some scripture does in no way or means lead one to the Truth as to just where the Kingdom of God is located. Luke 17:21 however does state its' location and 1 Corinthians 3:9 broadens the scope of one's Godly Kingdoms' understanding in view of our coming to grips toward an understanding of such a Truthfulness.

      Once you Mark have looked up the 2 verses of scripture we can then continue with not looking here or there for the Kingdom of God's whereabouts.but rather discuss with varied understanding as to what such a place for the Kingdom of God does assert to in light of meaningful disputes.

      Until your response, I wait with anticipation,
      P.D.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • plucky

      You guys are spending all this mental capital on affixing meaning to a truely meaningless set of writings. It would be hilarious if it weren't so sad.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      BTW Mark from Middle River,,,,

      Real Christians are yes a hard fiind among the many myriads of searching here or looking there; false illusitory non-factual faiths of modern-day hypocritical soothsayers who only want seed faith gifts in order to keep their shows afloat in the mire of televised propoganda all for show and not for provability's points. I do truly despise these- send me your seed faith money and you will be a part of their blasphemeries.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      @ plucky,,,,

      Your comments are somewhat of a taunting parody plucky. I, however do so want to strike up a meaningful conversation with people who seek Truth in and of scriptural passages that are overlooked by mainstream Christendom.Money is not the reward I seek. Understanding by those who have the will to look and see passed their continual deprivation of learning the Truth about God and His Kingdom Domains.

      March 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      >>>”That's not your opinion. That came from the ancient writings of, well we really don't even know who. Why should you even pay any attention to that? “

      Hi Plucky. I posted the scriptures that I draw my opinion from. So it is my opinion. If you are asking me why it should be your opinion, then that is another subject on why it should.

      Luke 17:21
      1 Corinthians 3:9

      Dreamer. I checked out the two passages and 1 Corinthians, I will say is a stretch but the Luke 17 is plausible. It is the “God is inside our hearts” or as they say when we accept Christ that God shall dwell within us view. This is why I asked are you looking for a physical place or a better grasp of the context of your question. I will admit that I did not know of the Luke 17 by scripture but I understand its meaning to me.

      I do not agree with the “Real Christians” label. While you might despise the televangelist who ask for money at the end of their broadcast, are you with 100% certainty, that God's message through a sermon or a prayer might not have reached someone. There comes a point where saying one is a Real Christan is no different than someone who drives a Prius saying they are a Real Environmentalist. I used to find fault with Televangelist but then I met folks who did tune into these services. Some could not make it to a house of worship because of illness or sadly because they felt their lives were so “over the top” sinful that they felt ashamed to come to church. To these folks, maybe to hear the gospel makes such programs as important to them as a church, temple, or mosque is to many Faithful.

      Question is this, when you say a “Real Christian”, I think of Romans 8:9

      “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.”

      For myself, once we start bouncing around the definition of a “Sinful Nature”, we are just attempting to judge another by what we consider to be a “Sinful Nature”. To me that is severely stepping on God's turf, because that is really between the person and God. If a person has accepted Christ, then who am I to judge them and their relationship with God?

      March 29, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Reality

      Some observations:

      Most if not all contemporary NT scholars have concluded that Matt 16:33 was said by the historic Jesus.

      "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

      Martin Luther "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

      Luke 17: 21: Not all contemporary NT scholars believe that said passage is historic. e.g. Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 373 and p. 695.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Reality

      Summarizing with a prayer:

      Only for the newcomers:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, SPIRIT-STATE of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      March 29, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • MrId

      Anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon line is heaven.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  19. Reality

    How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?: i.e ways to balance the budget and also ways to start paying for universal health care

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    March 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Tom Smith

      Brainwashing 3.5 billion intelligent human beings or unbrainwashing 2.6 billion sheep-like humans? Decisions, decisions.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Reality

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's two billion followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      (Some call it the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Christianity)

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      March 29, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • Tom Smith

      Because it is a convenient way for you to persecute people that give you the willies.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  20. Mark of Tennessee

    Why did CNN give this fool the an outlet for his B.S. I don't trust a word out of this liars mouth!!!!!!!

    March 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Parsa Dorbeigi

      Democracy is not only for you; but also for the people you strongly oppose.

      March 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • TING

      He seemed quite normal as a conservative when he had a show on CNN. I blame his transformation on FOX NEWS.

      March 28, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • affiliated observer

      Hmmmm hmm hmm,Mark must be part of the Vaaandubuilt crowd.Hmm yehus,Vaaandubuilt.You know they supp(pipe twitch)-ort Obama,Yehus,Obama.That dreadful derilict from the Noth.Five dolla gasoline and all.Agitatus,no doubt.

      March 29, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • boocat

      Beck is a hypocritical clown...just consider the source and move on.....

      March 29, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.